ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman had set his sights on leaders Walsall.
Prior to Saturday's clash, the Saddlers were 11 points ahead of the Reds but the Stanley manager felt his side had now found their League Two feet and the gap was there to be closed as they went on the hunt for a second successive promotion.
But Saddlers winger Mark Wright had other ideas and his late winner at what had become fortress Fraser Eagle left the Reds manager, in his own words, "absolutely devastated."
A win would have been just what was needed after a torrid week at the FES.
Star man Gary Roberts disappeared on his three month loan spell to Championship side Ipswich and Coleman was keen to show there is life without the top scorer.
And one target, Carlisle striker Glenn Murray, chose to join rivals Rochdale the day before the clash.
But instead of cheering him up, Coleman's players left him down in the dumps after the Saddlers came and soaked up the pressure - and then hit the Reds on the break to end his side's seven game unbeaten run.
Not that the manager felt it was down to the leaders' trickery and skill.
Instead he was enraged at his teams mistakes which meant Walsall maintained their place at the top of the table - and Stanley dropped 14 points being them.
"I have never been upset after a game in a long time, probably Southport away was the last time I had been this upset," fumed Coleman.
"We absolutely gifted them the points and it is hard to take and I am really upset, I feel like crying.
"The first goal was bad enough but the second one was a calamity. If I had been playing in my clothes now I would have cleared it.
"My players deserve no credit at all. We are comfortably at home a better side than Walsall, not close but comfortably. To draw the game would have been a disaster, to lose the game, words fails me."
Stanley did have a lot of possession but just couldn't find the end product to see off the league's early pacesetters.
Ian Craney did score a stunning free kick but other chances went begging.
Sean Doherty's deflected effort hit the post, Paul Mullin flicked a header just wide and Michael Welch had an effort cleared off the line.
And they were furious two penalty appeals were turned down.
Defender Kris Taylor appeared to hack down bustling midfielder Andy Procter in the area when he was charging through on goal on 39 minutes but referee Steve Tanner immediately crossed his arms to say no spot kick.
And, on 75 minutes, man in the middle Tanner then once more incurred Stanley's wrath when he turned down another penalty decision.
Mullin's initial close range shot was saved by keeper Clayton Ince and Phil Edwards slammed the loose ball goalwards and felt Dean Keates had kept it out with his hand on the line - but once again nothing was given.
A frustrated Coleman admitted: "We felt they were blatant penalties but the decisions haven't been given and you have got to trust the referee to make the right decisions."
Walsall, on the other hand, made their chances count which is probably why they are top of the league.
On 40 minutes, Wright played in a looping cross, James Constable jumped high to head again the crossbar, just out of reach of Ian Dunbavin, and Hector Sam was there first to fire home the rebound.
Stanley were desperately searching for the equaliser but couldn't stun Saddlers keeper Ince, who is a record breaker at home having not conceded in seven games.
Saying that, Dunbavin was equally as quiet although he did do well to dive low and keep out a Wright shot on the hour.
Then Craney looked like he had scored the perfect equaliser with his third league goal of the campaign.
The midfielder's 20-yard free kick seemed to have grabbed a deserved point for the Reds 12 minutes from time when he took it perfectly and it nestled into the top of the net, evading the highly-rated Ince.
But, as Stanley have scored two late winners at home, Walsall turned it around with just five minutes left.
Substitute Ishmel Demontagnac charged down the left wing, played in a cross and Wright, sliding in with Leam Richardson, somehow got to the ball first and it looped goalwards. All Dunbavin could do was push it into his own net for only Stanley's second home defeat of the season.
Coleman couldn't hide his anger: "We scored that goal for them - it was rank bad defending.
"We had too many players having off days. I thought Robbie Williams was absolutely outstanding but he defended on his own and unfortunately you can't go into a game with one defender.
"We have got good players and for whatever reason they didn't play well and it is my job to find out why and make sure it doesn't happen again. I won't tolerate any more performances like that.
"We just didn't seem to have any spark and looked lifeless in all areas and we have probably only got four players who came out of that game with any credit. You can't carry seven players."
And he admitted that there is a grudging admiration for Walsall who did what many teams will fail to do this season - and leave Accrington with a win.
"They are top of the league and they must be top of the league for a reason but, no disrespect to them at all, they are not the best team who have come here - far from it - and that is probably one of our most comfortable games defensively and we still defended badly.
"They haven't put us under any pressure, the pressure we're under has come from ourselves.
"But you have got to take your hat off to them, they came here and won."
And now it is back to the training ground to work on what went wrong before tomorrow's (Sat) clash at Hereford.
"Some of the players know, if I get anymore performances like that, they will be in for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
"What annoys me beyond belief is that I know we are a better team than Walsall. If I didn't, I wouldn't be upset.
"If they were better than us on the day, I would hold my hand up.
"Statistics though tell us they are 14 points ahead of us. I had ambitions of winning the league before Saturday, I had ideas of closing the gap to eight points but we have given ourselves a mountain to climb.
"Just when I think we are starting to achieve things, I get served up what I got served up on Saturday and I won't tolerate that."